Birthday

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Lee took this photo last week on the morning of my 46th birthday.

We were in Lake Placid, NY, vacationing with my entire clan.

A big, celebratory dinner was planned, but as I do every year, I longed for some quiet, reflective, soul-nourishing time.

Lee set his watch alarm early – 6:30 am – and after waking our big dog, Meg, filling thermos with creamy coffee and wrapping egg sandwiches (mine gluten-free) in aluminum foil, we snuck out of the house before anyone woke, driving to the marina where we’d rented a boat slip for the week.

There’s something so magical about feeling like you’re the only ones awake, which is just how we felt, slowly driving the boat out onto that still, silent lake.

Lee drove, I sat in the bow, and Meg had the large back seat all to herself.

We cruised in silence, taking in the rustic cottages, stately adirondack pines and rocky shores lining the island around which we drove.

Without need for consultation, we arrived at a cove on the far end of the lake and Lee cut the motor.

We floated and looked around.

“Is that a bird?” I whispered, pointing to a light brown object close to shore, “or the top of a rock?”

Meg sat up at the sound of my voice.  Lee squinted ahead.

“Bird, I think,” he whispered back.

And a moment later, our eyes caught the pair of loons that had emerged from the shadows.

“Mama and Papa,” Lee whispered.  And as if on cue, one of the loons let out that hauntingly beautiful loon call and the smaller brown bird swam to their side.

We landed the boat on the dock at the nearby trail head which leads up the back of Whiteface Mountain.

Typically a four hour hike, we walked just a half hour or so, our usually slow, lopey Meg, full of vigor and joy, leading the way along the moss lined paths.

Lee took the above photo when we arrived back at the dock, after I’d asked for a few minutes more to just sit and be.

Just sit and be.

It was a wonderful beginning to a new year.

What are some of your favorite things to do on your birthday?

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